SWR Blog

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Accent Modification- “What did you say?”

Is your accent getting in the way of doing business?  Are you tired of hearing, “What did you say?” or “I didn’t understand you!”  When your first language is other than American English, many of the characteristics of your first language will carry over into the second.  While a few differences make your speech interesting, a substantial number of characteristics, such as a trilled /r/ or the substitution of the /v/ for /w/ will result in poor intelligibility. Accent Modification may be the answer.  With the advent of web-based therapies, pronunciation lessons can now be found on-line and completed in [...]

What is the Role of Speech Pathology in the Care of Patients with Head and Neck Cancer?

A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) is a specialist who helps educate patients and their families about ways to minimize the effects of head and neck cancer and  provides treatment when speech and swallowing skills become impaired. Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, in one of the the major side effects of chemo and/or radiation treatment.  Including a SLP in the initial treatment planning stage helps prevent/reduce dysphagia and improves quality of life.  The biggest concern with dysphagia due to head and neck cancer is the increased of risk of aspiration.  Aspiration is when food or liquid goes into the airway.  This is often [...]

How Do I Fix Slurred Speech? Gum Chewing…Are you kidding me?!

Slurred speech, also known as dysarthria, is a condition that results from impaired movement of the muscles used for speech production, including the lips, tongue, vocal folds, and/or diaphragm.  Common causes of dysarthria include such neurological disorders as a stroke, Parkinson, brain injury, tumor and conditions that cause facial paralysis (eg. Bells Palsy). When the muscles controlling the face are affected, symptoms may include slurring, speech that is too fast or slow, speaking softly, and impaired pitch and rhythm. Drooling may be present as well as decreased mouth movements. Sometimes therapy can treat the underlying cause of the condition.  With [...]

Auditory Integration Therapy (AIT); What is it? and How does it work?

On Thursday, June 15th from 7:00 to 8:00 pm there will be a free presentation by Melody Sheldon, MA Speech Pathologist on “Auditory Integration Therapy” in the conference room at Southwest Rehabilitation at 2085 Inland Drive in North Bend, Oregon.   Melody Sheldon will be discussing the common problems associated with listening impairments and how to enhance auditory processing, language, learning, sensory processing and socialization.   “There is a difference between hearing and listening,” says Sheldon. “Hearing is the perception of sound and listening is making sense of what you hear.” According to Sheldon, some children have difficulty with processing [...]

Feeding Problem or Just a Picky Eater?

Identifying a feeding problem is not easy. There is neither an accepted definition nor classification system.  What is accepted is the need for early recognition and treatment to prevent simple feeding problems from becoming pervasive or resistant to treatment.   Separating a feeding problem from a “picky eater” starts with talking with your pediatrician about your concerns.  It’s understandable that a parent may push their child to eat foods when they refuse.  If, on the other hand, your child prefers to drink rather than eat, won’t transition from purees to semi solids, coughs or gags, has difficulty moving food around [...]

What is Spaced Retrieval and How Does It Help People with Memory Impairments ?

Spaced-Retrieval (SR) is a memory intervention that gives individuals practice at successfully recalling information over progressively longer intervals of time. The ultimate goal is for the individual to retain important information for very long periods. Therapists can use Spaced-Retrieval (SR) to attain treatment goals by helping individuals to remember compensatory strategies such as using a schedule, swallowing safely, using a daily calendar, and/or using a piece of adaptive equipment.  There are two types of goals when applying the concept of Spaced-Retrieval (SR). One is fact retrieval and the other strategy learning. Fact retrieval is remembering names, locations, dates, or the [...]

How Can Playing the Didgeridoo Help?

Do you, or someone you know, have sleep apnea ? If so, then the Didgeridoo Club might just be for you! Beginners to more advanced club members meet once a month to learn the basics about playing the Didgeridoo.  We listen to famous Didgeridoo players and break down the different steps required to achieve a circular breathing pattern. According to research in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Magazine, tongue and pharyngeal muscles used while playing the didgeridoo reduce symptoms of sleep apnea.  Playing the didgeridoo is also helpful to those who have a respiratory ailment or a [...]

Summer Speech Therapy for School-Aged Children

Summer break is almost here! For many students who receive speech/language services, the break from school also means a break in treatment. Summer speech therapy may be just what a child needs to help build upon and carryover their skills when school is not in session. During summer break, parents can help their children maintain communication skills learned during the school year. Sessions are one-on-one with a certified speech pathologist and helps promote generalization to different therapists/environments and maintenance of skills and strategies learned in school-based speech therapy. Each session is individualized and targets goals specific to the child’s needs. [...]

What is Myofascial Release and Why is it Beneficial?

When patients come to our office with complaints of pain with voice or swallowing, the first question asked, “Is it a sore throat or muscle pain?” A sore throat is usually an indication of a virus, bacterial infection or irritation from acid refluxed from the stomach and treatable. With muscle pain, however, the use of myofascial release has become an accepted method of treatment. “When we place our hands on a patient and move them in a certain manner, pain will often lessen and function will often improve,” states Waltz Fritz, P.T. In his course, “Myofascial Release for Voice and Swallowing [...]

Speech Pathologists Address Reading Delay in School-Aged Children

According to the 2015 National Assessment of Education Progress, 31% of the 4th graders and 24% of 8th graders demonstrate “below basic” reading skills.  These students are said to have difficulty with inferences, understanding new words in text and drawing conclusions from what is read.  As a result, these students have a high risk of dropping out of school.  And as adults, reading difficulties results in lower wages, a significantly higher risk of chronic health conditions, hospitalizations and health care costs, (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011).   Given the complexity of reading as a whole, a multidimensional [...]